Thriving Community

Oklahoma Conventions

superbitcon Pax South was my first real gaming convention, and I have to say I had an absolute blast there.  Don’t get me wrong I had been to a few conventions in the past, even worked a few comic book conventions when I worked at a comic book shop, but they were nothing like Pax.  This got me thinking about what I might be missing out on here locally.  It turns out we have a not insignificant number of conventions that happen within a short driving distance.  In fact at the tail end of this month a pretty big retro gaming convention is happening in the Oklahoma City area.  As you can see from the handy little button thing on the right it is happening March 28th and 29th at the Oklahoma Expo Hall of the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City…  Oklahoma.  Yeah that was a lot of Oklahoma in a row, even as a lifer I thought it was a bit excessive.

Super! Bitcon is going on its second year, and seems to be a pretty cool place to go especially if you are into “retro” gaming…  or as I like to call it “my childhood”.  They have several well known guests on the docket like Smooth McGroove, Alpha Omega Sin, and Patrick Scott Patterson.  They also apparently have a fairly large exhibitor hall with several local and regional companies showing off the games they have been working on, as well as a free play arcade and gaming museum.  There is this #IamSuperBitcon thing from social media where folks talk about their experiences last year that is really interesting to watch as well.  The absolute best part of all of this is that you get a two day pass for only $10 and for this… I thought it would be a sin for me to pass up going.  Oklahoma City is only an hour and a half drive for me from Tulsa, so not a big deal at all.  One of my new goals this year is to try and hit up as many of these smaller conventions as I can to tide me over until the next Pax.  As we get closer to time I will talk about the Heartland Gaming Expo and the XPO games convention both in the Tulsa area.  It just excites me that we have this thriving games culture seemingly in my own back yard.

Thriving Community

ffxiv 2015-02-18 18-07-31-65 One of the topics that I have been mulling over in my head is why exactly we have manages to stay happy and engaged with Final Fantasy XIV for the better part of this last year.  So often we pop into a MMO and last a few months only to flit off to another title a month later.  At the same time I have been examining why I stayed in World of Warcraft for over seven years, and continue to return to it.  I think the answer to Final Fantasy XIV is two fold.  Firstly we returned to the game after a sequence of boom bust cycles in MMOs like Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar.  I was personally looking for a place to “settle down” for awhile, and Final Fantasy XIV had been the only title that all of my friends seemed to leave “on good terms” with.  So we set down roots, and I started getting involved in the Cactuar community as did the rest of my guild.  This process was aided by the fact that we had nothing on the horizon to draw our attention away from the game.  As such we have been able to play the game without the distraction of shiny new objects and their promises of a better gaming experience.

I think this lull in MMO releases has helped a lot of games that were stable get more so.  When I came back to Final Fantasy XIV last July they were at I believe 2.5 million subscribers, and last week they announced that they had blossomed up to 4 million subscribers.  That is a fairly significant growth over what is essentially two quarters, and I think that in part it has a lot to do with the fact that there is really nothing out there to pull attention away from it.  Don’t get me wrong Warlords of Draenor happened, and I have been playing it…  but that is only a draw to players who still have warmth in their hearts for the World of Warcraft franchise.  I think the answer to why we have stayed is that we were given enough time to set down roots.  We not only have friends in our free company, but are members of several active linkshells that give us access to raiding and grouping beyond our own numbers.  This sort of environment is contagious and has made recruiting more members to the fold exceptionally easy.  All of which builds upon itself giving me the piece the kept me coming back to World of Warcraft all of this time…  a stable and thriving community.  The awesome thing is… I can have my cake and eat it two, because at this point my community in World of Warcraft is vastly different than my community blooming here in Final Fantasy XIV.

The Botanist

ffxiv 2015-03-12 06-46-29-58 I had every intention to come home and have a quiet night of powering through the early levels of botany.  In fact that is precisely how my evening started, with me brute forcing the level 10 trees near Bentbranch in the Central Shroud.  Right now I am working towards the level 10 quest, which will require 99 Crow Feathers.  My goal is to be able to have 99 waiting and ready for when I ding 10 and can immediately turn in that quest and move on to the next sequence.  However last night it was only a matter of moments before someone in guild needed something… and the adventurer inside me leapt at the chance to do something “not crafting”.  My friend Arkenor needed a run of Haukke Manor, and another group needed a run of Copperbell and thankfully we had the right mix of people to make both happen.  I tanked Haukke on my Paladin and another run when smoothly.  I have said this before, but I keep having to say it over and over.  I love how damned easy and rewarding it is to run lower level content with your friends.

Once the crafting thing was tossed aside I spent most of the rest of the night running content.  We moved from Haukke into a random Expert Roulette picking up Cav to add to Ash, myself and Thalen.  Once finished there I ran a few trials roulette and a hard roulette… and before I realized it was 9:30 and I was starting to get a bit tired.  This is the way an evening can evaporate in Eorzea, with a bunch of chain events that make you wonder where the time went.  So sadly I did not make much progress on Botanist, but I am feeling that Sunday I will have another “catch up on television” day downstairs on my laptop and push forward again.  At some point I need to run a good deal more content however because I would really like to cap my poetics this week, and I have barely put a dent in them.  If I keep running a few roulettes each day, I should be able to do it without much difficulty.  The only monkey wrench in this plan is the fact that most of Saturday I will be out of town, leaving me only Sunday to really work on such things.  In any case… I had a fun evening with my Free Company and have zero regrets of not making any flower picking progress.

8 thoughts on “Thriving Community

  1. Being able to finally get into dungeon and run with some of the awesome folks in the FC was a lot of fun! Chaide and I can’t wait to get back into FFXIV some more after this weekend. 🙂

  2. I agree. One of the things this game seems to try to do is make you think AND act like the Warrior of Light you are praised to be. I don’t know if you remember (AND MINOR STORY SPOILERS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME) but when you run your first three dungeons, each dungeon had another party that either failed, was setting up, or too late. The failed party…acted as the WoW community is notorious for – they blamed each other, treated each other badly, and stormed off to never team up again. We are to look at them with a sort of air of supperiority – WE aren’t like that, WE know they are being dumb, and WE are victorious because of it.
    The game basically went out of it’s way to mock this toxic nature in a way that the developers hoped players would catch on (I believe plenty did once the “skip the story” grinders really left).
    To put it simply, they faction us to a city, but quickly show the problems with each one, have us run around the other two cities, and then join the Scions – which are neutral and above the faction squabbling.
    To put it simply, they tried to forge and later re-inforce a good mentality among their players. A sort of mentality that just naturally turn away in disgust at toxic communities – even if you were part of it. Is it always successful? No, but I think it’s helped.
    I think other MMOs should take a leaf from FFXIV to try and curb this behavior.

  3. So, I’ve been reading your blog for the last few days, and I’ve noticed your love for the Final Fantasy XIV community, so I thought I would chime in a thought here.

    You have decided on the fact that the commendation system is part of what caused them to clean up their act, and while I agree, I think it goes further.

    From what I’ve read, Final Fantasy XIV bosses are, well, Final Fantasy bosses put the MMO form. They have scripted attacks and movements that you just need to learn how to avoid and counter for the most part – just in certain ways. These bosses in a single player Final Fantasy relies on the player to use their party to maximum effect – especially designated classes. The MMO version also does this, but as you only play your character, this mean you are forced to rely on others to do their roles perfectly as well. In other words, it creates a bond of trust that the player knows what they are doing, and thus reliable. The healer knows how to and when to heal to maximum effect, the tank knows exactly how to aggro, etc.

    With a scripted boss fight, it creates a reliable scenario to pull through.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that players became friendly because the likelyhood of winning increases when you don’t treat those around you badly. They’ll want to heal you and you’ll want to protect them because you KNOW you’ll need them. There’s very little random factor that could potentially make their role useless that run, and unless you are with a group that is severely overpowered, they are your crutch and you know it.

    I’m not very good at putting my thoughts together, sorry. Basically, the game makes your fire forged friends by being mechanically set up to rely on each other instead of finding a way around the problem.

    Final Fantasy V had four strangers come together and forge life long friendships through the struggles they faced in the story. Final Fantasy XIV…it does the same thing for the players through dungeons and bosses. You are Bartz, and to succeed you know you need a Lenna, Faris, and Galuf in your party, and so do your Lenna, Faris, and Galuf.

    Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if you felt your worked a lot better as a team with your free company after going through the Coils of Bahamut which forces you to rely on each other more than ever before!

    • Thanks for your comment! Yeah I absolutely see your point. I think this is part of it most definitely. Largely I have focused on the ways FFXIV is different from the other MMOs on the market, but the design of the content is most definitely one of those ways. Largely my opinion of the game essentially “bribing us” for being nice, comes from the fact that immediately after launch… folks absolutely were jerks to one another. Most of the runs I pugged into, were just as bad if not worse than the runs I was experiencing in World of Warcraft. Around the time we left the very first time, was when 2.1 patch landed… and that was the point at which the commendation system went in. So I think a lot of things happened during that time. Firstly a lot of the “WoW Tourists” moved on to the next game or back to World of Warcraft. So the folks left were really into the game and committed to staying for the long haul. I think the commendation system just acted as a constant and friendly reminder to tell folks that no… really it is a good idea to be nice to one another because you are all in this together. The game is a combination of so many different ideas that instill and reinforce teamwork, and most definitely the ideas you just shared are part of it as well.

  4. So sorry for neglecting my Cactuar Kitty alt. I really intended to do more with her, but my FC has seen an upswing on Midgardsormr. Right now, leadership mostly rests on me, so I need to be around. Just don’t have enough time to do everything! 🙁

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